Sweet Sixteen notes: Father-son refs living their dream in Rupp Arena

mfields@herald-leader.comMarch 20, 2014 


Officials Scott Bottoms, left, and his son Kyle called their first Sweet Sixteen Tournament game together on Thursday. Scott Bottoms plans to retire from officiating after the tournament.


Scott and Kyle Bottoms of Danville had the ultimate whistle-while-you-work father and son experience in the Sweet Sixteen. They were part of the three-man officiating crew for the Bardstown-Pleasure Ridge Park game in Rupp Arena on Thursday night.

Scott, 51, has been refereeing 24 years and is hanging up his whistle after this week.

"I've been fortunate enough to be here six other times, but this is the pinnacle," Scott said. "Refereeing in the state tournament in Rupp Arena in the last year of my career, and to top it off by working with my son."

Kyle, 24, is in his fourth season as a high school varsity official. He worked the girls' Sweet Sixteen last year.

He said he was lucky to have refereed his first high school game with his dad in 2009, and his first college game with his dad in 2011.

"All of that stuff has been very neat and exciting, but to work in Rupp Arena in the boys' state tournament with him, it doesn't get better than this."

Scott and Kyle said they were grateful for the chance to get to the Sweet Sixteen together and thanked assigning secretary Noel Hargis and KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett for making their dream come true.

Scott has had trouble with his knees in recent years and figured it was time to quit running up and down the court. He's not leaving the game, however. He's succeeding Hargis as the 12th Region's assigning secretary next season.

'Air' ball since 1948

Radio station WSGS in Hazard will broadcast its 1,000th consecutive Sweet Sixteen game when Johnson Central plays Scott County in Friday's quarterfinals in Rupp Arena.

WSGS is the only radio station in Kentucky to originate a broadcast of every state tournament game since 1948. It has aired them from the Louisville Armory, Memorial Coliseum, Freedom Hall and Rupp Arena.

Ernest Sparkman called the Sweet Sixteen for WSGS from 1954 until 1994. Jay Lasslo was on press row from 1964-1996. This year's crew is made up of Don Smith, Danny Hall, Eugene Newsome, John Newell and C.J. Howard.

"We carry all the games; it doesn't matter who plays. Our listeners expect us to be there," said Shane Sparkman, one of the station's owners.

Proud grandfather

Bill Chumbler, who coached Paducah Tilghman to a state runner-up finish to Lexington Catholic in 2000, was back in Rupp Arena on Thursday to watch his grandson play for McCracken County.

Kam Chumbler isn't exactly a chip off the ol' block. He averages 12.5 points, but the 6-foot senior point guard's primary role is to run the team. "To me, he doesn't shoot enough. Not like me. I shot a lot," Bill Chumbler said with a laugh.

Bill was an all-state player at Lowes (in Graves County) in the early 1960s. He scored more than 2,000 points in three years and was on the Kentucky All-Stars team with Clem Haskins, Mike Redd and Wayne Chapman. He went on to play at Mississippi State.

Chumbler said watching his grandson in the Sweet Sixteen is lot less stressful than coaching in it. "There was so much pressure, so much to worry about coaching. But this is wonderful."

Kam did his granddad proud by helping McCracken County upset Wayne County. He had 19 points, including 13 of 15 free throws, and six rebounds.

East-West all-stars

The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches' East-West All-Star game is Saturday at Transylvania at 1 p.m. Each region is represented by two players.

East All-Stars

Patrick Hulbert (St. Mary); Austin Renfrow (Marshall Co.); Tra Edwards (Hopkinsville); Cole Gardner (Trigg Co.); Jacob Revlett (McLean Co.); Tim Bickel (Daviess Co.); Chris Porter-Bunton (Warren Central); Zach McDaniel (South Warren); Caleb Wiggington (Taylor Co.); JaVon Cotton (Elizabethtown); Lamontray Harris (Pleasure Ridge Park) Cory Thomas (Fairdale); Quentin Snider (Ballard); Kelan Martin (Ballard); Ralphie Stone (Collins); Kyle Young (South Oldham).

West All-Stars

Brandon Hatton (Dixie Heights); Jake Shulte (Newport Central Catholic); Brent Bach (Augusta); Bryan Wallace (Montgomery Co.); Jackson Davis (Lafayette); Trent Gilbert (Scott Co.); Daulton Peters (West Jessamine); Justin Edwards (Southwestern); Jordan Fox (Jackson Co.); Tyler Potter (Bell Co.); Justin Johnson (Perry Central); Josh Hollan (Hazard); Shane Hall (Johnson Central); Dylan Meade (Betsy Layne); Troy Steward (Fleming Co.); Brett Ruckel (Lewis Co.).

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